Senate Minority Leader Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens, filed a proposal Wednesday that would expand a pilot needle-exchange program into Palm Beach County.
Pointing to the need to prevent the spread of infectious diseases by intravenous drug users, lawmakers in 2016 approved a pilot needle-exchange program in Miami-Dade County to be run by the University of Miami and its affiliates. Braynon's proposal (SB 1320) — and a similar bill (HB 945), filed last week by Rep. Wengay Newton, D-St. Petersburg — would allow the university to also run the program in Palm Beach County.
Both bills are filed for the 2018 legislative session, which starts Jan. 9. Braynon and Rep. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, also have filed broader bills (SB 800 and HB 579) that would allow needle-exchange programs in other parts of the state.